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ngal infections are common. tell your doctor if you have had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, or sores. you should not start humira if you have any kind of infection. take the next step. talk to your doctor. this is humira at work. this morning, my question, is the outrage over donald sterling missing the point? plus, this week in voter suppression, texas edition. and eric holder investigates racial profiling. but first, 43 minutes in oklahoma.
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good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. we begin this morning with a story that's hard to hear but necessary to discuss. now, i'm going to be referring to this clock behind me, okay, don't get too distracted by it. i'll bring it back whenever we need it. the state of oklahoma was scheduled to execute two convicted murderers, clayton lockett and charles warner. tha their crimes were heinous. the inmates challenged the execution claiming that they had the right to know the source of the drugs. a district court judge ruled on march 26th that the secrecy law signed by governor mary fallon in 2011 was unconstitutional. but after the state's supreme court granted a stay of the executions on april 22nd so that it could rule on the issue of
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secrecy, the governor responded, saying the court had acted, quote, outside of its constitutional authority. at the same time a fellow republican in the state house began working on a bill to impeach the five justices who voted for the stay. the state supreme court soon ruled against the inmates regarding the question of secrecy of the drug cocktail, lifted the stay and effectively allowed the plan for execution to move forward. time check. 1:22. back to the story. thanks to the court's ruling, the executions, complete with the untested drug cocktail, were scheduled for last tuesday night. at 6:23 p.m. local time, clayton lockett lay strapped to a gurney. his sedation was finally flowing into his body after officials spent nearly an hour searching for a vein for the i.v. and soon it was clear something was really wrong. witnesses, including a guest today noticed his blinking,
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pursing his lips. a physician checked, he wasn't yet unconscious when he should have been by then. shortly after the second and third drugs, the fatal ones started to flow into him at 6:33 p.m. at 6:36 p.m., lockett began to twitch, shake and mumble. one of his attorneys later described what he saw. >> this was a horrible thing to witness. one of the things he said was something's wrong. he said, man, at one point. he kept trying to raise up. >> a few minutes later, the oklahoma director of corrections attempted to halt the execution. at 6:42 p.m. the shades were drawn, blocking the witnesses from seeing any more. here's what witnesses told reporters they did see. >> he was struggling to talk, but those were the words we got out, man, i'm not, and something's wrong. >> it seemed like he was trying to get up. at 6:39, they lowered the blinds. >> we didn't know what was happening on the other side of the blinds. we didn't know if he was still
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dying or if they were still pumping drugs in him. >> the state's log indicates that at 7:06 p.m. lockett was declared dead of what the director of corrections calls a massive heart attack. as a result of what happened during lockett's execution, an immediate stay was put in place for warner's execution. on thursday the director of corrections recommended in -- an indefinite delay while the lethal execution directive is renewed. they responded to a question about the events of that night. >> in the application of the death penalty in this country, we have seen significant problems. this situation in oklahoma i think just highlights some of the significant problems there. i think we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions. >> okay. i found that story difficult to
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tell. it's gruesome. but i know some people right now might be shruging and asking why should i go. if you know anything about the crime for which lockett was sentenced to die, this story of a 43-minute botched lethal injection procedure might not seem gruesome enough. i'm not going to share the details of his crime because they can give one nightmares and evoke images you will never shake but this crime is as bad as you can imagine. and i feel a little difficulty in having pity for someone capable of doing what this man did. i can understand why many people could react with disinterest or even with a kind of morbid glee to learn that this man, lockett, suffered in this way before his death. given his crime, who cares. time check, 4:44. so let me try to answer that question, who cares. we should. we, the american people. no matter our party affiliation, no matter whether we support the
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death penalty, we should care whether inmates are tortured to death by the state and we should care because not torturing our inmates to death is one of the distinguishing features of our founding. it is part of how we understand who we are as a people. look here at the eighth amendment which reads excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed. here's the key part, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. that amendment, part of the bill of rights, bans the state from torturing those we find guilty, even of heinous crimes. the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment is among the earliest aspects of united states law. one that existed before the republic was even fully formed. the language was borrowed from the virginia declaration of rights which predates even the declaration of independence. we assert this right to protection against cruel and unusual punishment because we are a government of laws. not whims. not emotions, not the will of a dictator. we do not turn over the guilty
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to mobs of angry citizens. i get it. revenge is an ugly but ordinary human impulse. at a human level, we can countenance the desire to torture and kill people who commit atrocities like those lockett and warner committed, but we don't. we don't because who we are as citizens, as a nation must be higher than our lowest human impulses. one of our founding fathers, james wilson, explained in 1791 the same year the eighth amendment was adopted, quote, a nation broke to or that tolerates cruel punishments becomes dastardly and contemptible. for in nations as well as -- cruelly is always attended by coward is. we have spent decades defining just what that is. in the 1878 case, wilkerson versus utah, the supreme court noted that drawing and
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quartering, burning alive and a few other awful ways to die constitute cruel and unusual punishment. the supreme court ruled that the eighth amendment prohibited hard and painful labor, shack ling for the length of incarceration and severe civil rejections. time check. 7:12. remember that execution chamber where clayton lockett lay strapped to a gurney awaiting his death? 43 minutes may not seem like a long time. it's a long time. i've been talking about this for less than eight minutes. that is an eternity in tv time. imagine how long that is in death chamber time. multiply that number behind me by about four and he's still not dead. clayton lockett's crimes were monstrous, but if we, the state, torture him for 43 minutes until he is dead, then what does that make us? at what point do we become
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monsters? joining me now from tulsa, oklahoma, is ziva brandsetter, enterprise editor for "tulsa world," a witness to the execution of clayton lockett. also steven bright, president at the southern center for human rights. so nice to have you both here. >> good morning. >> good to be here. >> do i have the sequence of events correct? >> yes, you do. >> what else do we need to know about what happened on that day leading up to that moment? >> the inmate was very noncompliant. he refused a verbal command to leave his cell. they had to use a taser. prison guards discovered that he had self injured his arm. they took him to prison medical -- determined that he didn't need any stitches and he was placed in a sort of mental holding cell to review his behavior for a period of time and then taken to the normal process of showering and preparing for the execution.
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>> so we know then there was -- obviously there was a legal case, a challenge. we also know there was noncompliance on that day. then we know about these 43 minutes. steven, i want for a moment to set aside the idea of the death penalty has itself inherently cruel and unusual, which i understand many people argue. i just want to set that aside for a moment and just explain to me how it is that lethal i injection has been seen by the courts as not violating the eighth amendment. >> well, in the united states supreme court looked at this question and said there wasn't a risk of unnecessary pain in looking at the kentucky procedures in a case which didn't actually involve an attempt to execution someone. obviously in oklahoma, that's not true. this man, as you said, was tortured to death over this time period. what we're seeing is with all the problems of lethal injection and there have been plenty in states all over the country,
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ohio, florida, and oklahoma just in january, what the states have rushed to do is to make everything secret. rather than try to solve the problem or try to deal with the issues, it's to make everything secret so nobody knows what's happening. and basically the departments of corrections or the governors and legislators are saying trust us. even on something like killing you, trust us, we'll find some drugs, maybe from a compounding pharmacy, that is judged by -- and the united states court of appeals said maybe like a high school chemistry class. we'll have unskilled people administering these drugs and not there with the inmate but in another room somewhere feeding the drugs in. so what you have is the disaster that we had in oklahoma this week. >> so, stephen, you said some things that i think are really critical there, ziva, and i want to come to you on those. the question of secrecy and having unskilled persons doing this, is there a protocol in oklahoma that allows for this
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kind of secrecy or that allows for this level of unskilled persons actually administering the drugs? >> well, correct. we passed a secrecy law in 2011 that shields the identities of the executioners, people who participate in the process as well as the suppliers of the drugs and the medical equipment. they do, according to the timeline that our department of corrections put out, they do have a phlebotomist. they do have a physician in the room. we don't have his name either. i don't know if he's been disciplined. he oversaw the process supposedly of inserting the iv. they couldn't find veins in his arm so they placed the iv in his groin area, femoral vein and there are a lot of questions we'd like answered but can't get access to the records of what these professionals are. >> stephen, let me come back for a moment. i want to listen to jay carney
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talking about how difficult this was and how it raises questions for us about the processes of lethal injection. >> in this case, or these cases, the crimes are indisputably horrific and heinous, but it's also the case that we have a fundamental standard in this country that even when the death penalty is justified, it must be carried out humanely. and i think everyone would recognize that this case fell short of that standard. >> is there a way to, stephen, humanely carry out the death penalty? >> well, i mean what you have with these departments of corrections here, i mean it's clear from the timeline that the director of corrections sent to the governor that when things started to go wrong here, they had no idea what they were doing. the warden is on the phone to the director talking about, well, he's not dying and the director is saying do we have
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enough drugs or, no, we don't have enough drugs. they were going to execution another man later that night, they surely had more drugs. but it's clear from the summary of that that neither one of these people are doctors, neither ones an anesthesiologist, they had absolutely no idea what they're doing and they finally called off the execution and five minutes later, the guy has a massive heart attack. but lethal injection was seen as this kind of humane, almost like being put to sleep before an operation. it just hasn't turned out that way for a lot of reasons that i talked about. i just point this out. the director says at the end of this letter to the governor that he is going to check with other corrections departments to find out what best practices are for carrying out an execution. oklahoma has carried out 111 executions. and now they're talking about checking on best practices? they haven't figured out what the best practices is after -- i mean they're second only to
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texas in the number of people that have been executed. and this was keystone cops. i mean this was absolutely botched in every way conceivable, starting with the tasering of the fellow first thing in the morning and then all the things that happened when they tried to put him down. and the other thing about putting the curtains down, i mean the idea of having witnesses there, like a reporter and like people from the public is to see what happens and to know what's going on, but this is all shrouded in secrecy. >> ziva, we are going to continue to read your reporting around this. i know this is not over, as stephen bright just brought up. there was another inmate who was meant to be executed that night and we'll be following this. thank you for being here. thank you for being here, stephen bright. obviously we are raising big questions about that 43 minutes. coming up, outrage over the comments on race made by l.a. clippers owner, donald sterling. and what we can learn from kanye west. okay, listen up! i'm re-workin' the menu.
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cases of potential voter impersonation fraud occur so infrequently that no rational person familiar with the relevant facts could be concerned about them. so read the ruling out of a u.s. district court this week striking down wisconsin's voter i.d. law. voter impersonation fraud does not occur in wisconsin, wrote federal judge lynn adelman. 300,000 voters lacked had i.d. the state tried to make necessary and those voters are disproportionately black and la teen oh the voter i.d. law therefore produces a discriminatory result, the judge wrote. it was a major victory for voting rights advocates and the
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300,000 voters in question, beating back the false narrative of voter impersonation which again the judge wrote no rational person could be concerned about. wisconsin governor scott walker said his administration will appeal. in the nation, we reward safe driving.
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get help right away if you have swelling of the face or throat, or trouble breathing. tell your doctor your medical history. and ask your doctor about celebrex. for a body in motion. okay, nerdland, you remember this moment. >> george bush doesn't care about black people. >> kanye west said that on live national tv during an nba telethon that raised more than $50 million for victims of hurricane katrina. it was second 2-- september 2nd 2005. thousands of residents were trapped in their homes, on their roofs or in the superdome. many had gone without food or water for days. they were still waiting for help four days after the levees failed. former president george bush
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said that kanye west's statement was the worst moment hiof his eight years as president. >> i don't appreciate it then, i don't appreciate it now. it's one thing to say i don't appreciate the way he's handled his business. it's another thing to say this man is a racist. i resent it, it's not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments of my presidency. >> you say you told laura at the time it was the worst moment of your presidency. >> yes. >> i wonder if some people are going to read that and they might give you some heat for that. >> i don't care. >> not the hurricane itself, not the aftermath, not the slow government response, not the at least 1,800 people that had died, the worst moment of his presidency was when someone called him a racist. let me be clear, i am not bringing this up now to mock the former president. i'm doing it to make a point. that many people, good intentioned people can think of nothing worse than to be labeled as racist. and there is a lot of good in that. i prefer to live in a country where people do not want to be thought of as racist.
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in 2005, though, kanye's comments launched a national debate about who is racist. about who can call someone racist. and about what exactly is in mr. bush's heart of hearts. now, i'm not making any claim about president george w. bush's racial attitudes, but i do want to point out a problem. instead of talking about how the storm had an impact on communities of color, we ended up fighting over whether george w. bush, the person, cares about black people. what and who one man, even a powerful man, cares about is much less important than determining how the decisions of those in power, no matter how they feel, regardless of whether they're black or white or democrat or republican, how those decisions and policies exacerbated disaster that disproportionately harmed african-americans. i think something similar is happening right now when we talk about donald sterling, the owner of the los angeles clippers pro basketball team. i am not, just to be clear, equating george w. bush to donald sterling. i am asking us to think about how we respond in these public moments of race talk.
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sterling was banned from the nba for life this week for telling his alleged girlfriend that he didn't want her to be seen with black people or to bring black people to his team's games. and the outrage was swift, loud and effective. social media had all the feelings. sponsors pulled out in droves. clippers players staged an on-court protest. president obama weighed in and in less than a week the nba commissioner banned sterling from the league for life. >> the views expressed by mr. sterling are deeply offensive and harmful. that they came from an nba owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage. >> many have pointed out that sterling's comments should not have been surprising. he has a history of alleged discrimination, including a maifs $2.7 million settlement with the justice department in 2009 over accusations that he discriminated against african-americans and hispanics at apartment buildings he owned and yet those allegations never created the same media firestorm as sterling's comments.
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those allegations of ongoing structural racial discrimination did not produce a national outcry sufficient to motivate the act. but a tape? well, now there is a tape, and we, the public are making the same analytic error admitted by kanye west back in 2005. he alleged that george bush, the person, didn't care about black people when the real issue is whether the office of the presidency, that happened to be occupied by bush at that moment shall was treating black citizens unfairly. now we the public are obsessing over whether an individual is a racist and we get outraged by racially charged language but we often fail to create the same firestorm for truly damaging of racism, the policies and actions that disproportionately harm people of color, whether the policy maker himself or herself is racist. joining me now is jalani cobb, ari berman, britney cooper, assistant professor at rutgers
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university and ammany jones. so what do you take of this moment? >> i thought it was like friday night. my immediate reaction was, donald sterling has not changed. that was it. i had an archive of three things that i had done on donald sterling. he has not changed. he had a black history month celebration in march at his arena. i couldn't figure out why anybody was so terribly shocked. the next day everybody was so mad. i listened to the tape. this wasn't nearly as offensive as people made it out to be. it was crazy, it was kooky, but in the grand scheme, this wasn't the one. >> as much as this is a smoking gun, it's an odd smoking gun given the longer trajectory and longer history. it's a relatively mild one. i want to play your point about this kind of longer history. i want to play bryant gumbel saying something very similar and get your response to it. >> i guess i'm surprised that anyone is surprised. i mean donald sterling's reputation is such that one could say if you keep a vicious
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dog for a while and you know he's vicious, you can't be surprised when one day it bites someone. donald sterling's racial history is on the record. it has cost him money. it cost him his reputation long before this. and so i'm kind of amazed that anyone is surprised at this and, frankly, i'm kind of surprised that the nba is being let off the hook on this. >> respond to that. >> well, i think it's very similar. many of us had similar reactions. my editors had to fight with me to get me to write about it because i said what outrage says or what shock about this says is that you didn't believe us before. so if you were really listening to what the narrative has been about how race works in the society you understand understand these attitudes are prevailing and existent. one other thing about this kind of moral question, the great accomplishment of the civil rights movement was that we came to understand racism as a moral
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failing. there's no coincidence that dr. king led this movement about him, the boys famously said when king first emerged, i plan to see a great many things in my lifetime, never a radical baptist preacher. and we get a movement that talks about this in moral terms but as a consequence we look at racism as an individual failing. and it's very difficult to make another argument saying this is systemic and there are economic implications to it. >> and as part of that, as part of the notion of a moral failing, it does feel to me like the sterling tape then becomes a kind of baptism of innocence for everybody who doesn't have this tape. so if you've never said these words, if you can't imagine telling your alleged girlfriend that she couldn't hang out with black people on instagram then you clearly aren't a racist, no matter what sorts of policies you engage with. >> there was a great column in the atlantic this week. his point was that it's the donald sterlings, the bundys,
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they're the ones that get caught and are outed. but the systemic racism, that's something we've come to accept as normal. it gets to this whole question of how we define discrimination. do we define it as intent, intentional discrimination or as the effects of discrimination. this is a broader debate we're having in society. we have a supreme court that wants to define discrimination purely on the donald sterling-like intent and that's going to miss all the structural effects of racism that really is what is affecting society right now in a much greater way. >> so think a little bit about this. it's also true that in the tapes, because you point out there's not a lot of "n" word being thrown around but there is a moment to attempt to generate racial innocence even in the tape where sterling himself is saying, hey, you're trying to make me look like i'm a racist here. i can't figure out whether i should be excited that we live in a country where now people are like seriously, i do not
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want to be a racist or whether or not that concern with being labeled a racist is itself so contentless that i shouldn't even see it as progress. >> sure. i think the problem is that we're focused on symbols rather than substance. i think that that's where you're challenging us to place our focus, right, which is to say that in this moment where we're having all these commemorations about the civil rights movement, one of the things we're also doing is having symbolic funerals. we're slaying the fathers and saying these old white men with these retrograde racial views, we want to rid our society of them. and that gives people credibility on race to slay them and to say this is a mark of progress. now that i have done this, i am not in league with them and allows folks to separate themselves and then no one has to then deal with the substance of policy, right, and the way that these players have been affected by this. >> all right. i love that idea that there's a way in which initially having the black friend is the cloak
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that says you can't be racist, but now maybe it's slaying the white racist elder dragon that allows you to be the person who says clearly i can't be racist. there is more to come this morning. and a new report on voting in texas. we're going to get to that in a little bit. but before that, when we come back, we're going to hear from the woman who's at the center of the donald sterling story. you may be surprised to find out what she had to say. i take prilosec otc each morning for my frequent heartburn. because you can't beat zero heartburn. woo hoo! [ male announcer ] prilosec otc is the number one doctor recommended frequent heartburn medicine for 8 straight years. one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn.
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you're like i don't really quite know where to go with that. but the notion of the real racist, i want to play for you a second because seeing her and remembering the extent about is he a racist. the willingness of people just to say racist, but i experienced this tape also as having a ton of sexism in this which seems to be generally silenced. i want to listen to jac mood who put out this fantastic video this week on the don sterling controversy making this point about sexism and racism. >> racism and being a horrible, manipulative boyfriend turn out to go really well with each other. they both basically work the same way. they're based on the same mind games and evasive tactics and emotional abuse. they're a perfect match for each other. they go together like man and splaining.
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>> but not only did people not have a reaction to the sexism in the tape, but a lot of people reproduced it even in their analysis saying you can't trust a woman like that who would put your tape out and reproducing a sexism. >> the real challenge here is this fits the script so easily. he's regulating this woman's body. he's saying here's who you can sleep with but i want you to be the proxy for my sort of -- for my sort of racial -- be my racial proxy, right. so you prove that i am not a racist because i have this beautiful woman on my arm, but this script about sort of old white man and their fascination and fettishization of women of color, it's so old and in some ways i'm trying to resist reading this according to this old script. to think about what it means that she has been willing to be his racial side kick. why is she willing to do this other than money. and so i think that she too falls victim to the sort of idea
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that real racists are sort of screaming terrible people, but the reality is he is a terrible person and it's unclear why she doesn't see that. i say that he's a terrible person because of the mind games he plays with her, the way he regulates her body, the fact that he tells her that she can sleep with these men but she just can't be seen with them. >> i like the idea that real racists never do anything good for the world and that's just historically untrue. thomas jefferson was a real racist and helped to found a pretty cool country. lbj was a real racist who nonetheless passed the '64 and '65 voting rights act. i wonder if this goes to the whole idea of being more concerned about the beliefs that people have than their practices. >> absolutely. we should look at what they have done. i've been reading a lot about ronald reagan and his assault on civil rights. reagan kept saying i don't have a discriminatory bone this my body. maybe he did, maybe he didn't but the issue was what his
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policies did in terms of decimating civil rights. so we keep looking at these individuals' views. they matter as a proxy for larger discussions but their actions are so much more important. if we had looked at donald sterling's actions we would have known what we were dealing with a long time before this tape came out. >> talk to me a little bit about that. am i being too harsh, particularly as a tv person. if i can play a tape, it is sexier. if i can tweet a link and people can watch it, of course it's going to because more reaction or are we really like incapable of engaging with the structure? >> the tape is big. once you have something you can reproduce and people consider shocked by, that's one thing. how many people are truly qualified to dissect this in the terms that are required to get people to understand this. because we've turned racism into a semantic argument. if you can't walk somebody back on their logic all the way back to oh, my god, i'm a racest.
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there was no mystery what was going on. hey, you always have plausible deniability. hey, man, states rights. >> i'm just from a small government. >> once you did that, those are the terms we have so the hypothesis is there is no racism and you have to prove beyond 95% there is and that's completely historical. it has nothing to do with what goes on in the world. once you put it at that standard, it's almost impossible to prove and then we get on people for being goshe. >> did you just make a standard deviation reference at my table, because that was high nerd. >> that was for you. >> we have more on this. as we go out, i want to take a listen to a little bit more of ill doctrine and our friend, jace mood because he really did do this lovely piece. when we come back, we'll talk more about donald sterling.
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>> i'm not saying donald sterling got too much attention for these words. he deserves all the attention he's getting. i hope more tapes come out. i hope he's like the tupac of unreleased racism tapes. but i just wish when i watch a story like this that we could figure out how to take that same energy and fury we bring to racist words and bring it just as hard to all the racist practices that generate injustice without generating tmz clips.
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not like renting those apartments to african-americans, to latinos, or to families with children. sterling allegedly made statements to employees indicating african-americans and hispanics were not desirable tenants and it worked. according to the doj, he rented to far fewer hispanics and african-americans than could be expected in those neighborhoods. as part of the doj suit, two families, an african-american family and an interracial couple with children claim that sterling demolished their private yards in order to push them out because of their race. eventually sterling settled that lawsuit. although he maintained his innocence, he paid $2.7 million to the justice department and to the people he allegedly discriminated against. it was the largest settlement the justice department had ever won anywhere for allegations of housing discrimination in the rental of apartments. cramps but not phillips.s ce it has magnesium and works more naturally than stimulant laxatives. for gentle cramp free relief of occasional constipation
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i would email the phone company to inquire as to why they have shortchanged these customers. but that would require wifi. switch to comcast business internet and get two wifi networks included. comcast business built for business. it's telling, of course, that donald sterling paid the
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largest ever settlement won by the justice department for discrimination in rental housing. but the fact that the justice department sued at all is telling. it rarely does. the federal government rarely takes any action against offenders, even though there's rampant housing discrimination against people of color. they even know when and where it takes place. jelani, obviously this is still alleged in the sense that he settled. he didn't admit to guilt. but there is this way in which housing in particular, the thing that determined employment and access to transportation and education, like housing discrimination is serious discrimination. >> it really is. and especially when we talk about the opposition to the civil rights act. we're looking at the 50th anniversary of it. housing, even employment was not as contentious as the issue of housing. we see this now in housing patterns. this is kind of the bread and butter where the economic implications of racism are. we talk about disparities in wealth. some people are accruing equity,
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other people are not. we talk about holding constant for socioeconomic factors, a black neighborhood with the same profile as a white neighborhood does not accrue equity at the same rate. all of these things are going to the core of what we look at with a racial caste system. one of the things i want to bring the conversation back for a second to actions versus words. when we think about the opposition to the kind of overt racism and, you know, as you said offish racism, we thought these always came from liberals. no. in the history of the south there is a significant antagonism toward that kind of declasse racism from other white racists saying this is not how we want to be understood. so people are saying we can still be racists but just in more sophisticated ways. that's what we're talking about here. we're not interested in cloogz between the klan and the white systems council, we're choosing
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between racism and equality. >> it is a reminder that this idea of these kind of racialized expressions, this kind of racism is something that we end up with this entire social angst against, right? it doesn't necessarily have to be ideological and yet the very idea that it is only the discourse. and it really is only the discourse that leads to the removal. let's listen to commissioner silver saying it's not that housing discrimination that caused the decision by the nba. >> in meting out this punishment, we did not take into account his past behavior. when the board ultimately considers his overall fitness to be an owner in the nba, they will take into account a life time of behavior. >> what? >> yeah. it's like why didn't they? why didn't they? like discriminating in a systematic basis against blacks and hispanics isn't as bad as saying something in one tape. that's basically what silver is admitting. and that's letting a whole lot
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of people off the hook for their actions. >> he also delegitimatized the punishment. if you're telling me you deserve to lose your team because somebody made a tape at your house, that's ridiculous. they knew it happened all these years ago and didn't know what to do with it and so he jumps up and said we weren't talking about that. people weren't bright enough to say this is preposterous. >> pause right there because this is important to me. it is preposterous to lose one's lifetime rights to go to nba games, which is basically what the ban is, or to potentially lose the whole team over this particular tape. so why did it happen? what are the things that make this happen? >> here's exactly what it is. if you pay attention closely to that press conference, someone said should he lose these rights and be punished like this for a private conversation. he said well, it's public now. the problem isn't that he said it, it was that he was not discreet enough that it could become public. his problem is a lack of
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discretion. this is what the nba is penalizing him for. his lack of discretion. >> and once it becomes public, it's the public nature of it that creates the economic consequences. >> but let's roll back and say it became public because of his girlfriend or personal assistant or whomever she is. but that becomes really important, right, because it's part of this sort of narrative that says that racism is only a thing that happens in private and as long as it stays connected to the private sphere, then there is no public accountability that has to occur. essentially these folks are saying we got embarrassed, we don't know what to do, now we have to do something. but this also makes it easy if we stay with these individual narratives. that is part of the reason that she then gets dismissed as this sort of gold digger who throws her dude under the bus, right, because we don't have a more sophisticated narrative that says that our commitment should be ferreting this out at the highest levels. >> there's another narrative at play. he says something bad about magic johnson.
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i tell you, if you say something bad about isiah thomas, we are not sitting here right now. we're sitting here because he said something about a black dude people like. if you want to give the appearance that you are the opponent of racism. if magic johnson can't come with your game with the girl, then nobody can. i understand a couple but magic, he smiles all the time. that's huge. >> and let me also suggest also that magic johnson is empowered in communities outside of basketball. yes, there is basketball, but he also is the businessman, he's also the public health advocate. there's all these ways in which like who the person is that magic johnson is extends beyond sort of his days on the court. >> when you mentioned how did it happen, it happened because the players forced the commissioner's hands. the players are employees. this is also an economic justice issue. it is a unionized community where the players could speak
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out and wouldn't be penalized. so that's something that wasn't discussed during this whole story. it was really the actions of the players that forced this whole issue. >> i don't know if you've been looking at our rundown for tomorrow but that's how we are going to talk about this tomorrow because i am interested in how the union makes it possible for them to speak and the ways in which i would love to see players empowered to speak in other contexts as well. so thanks for doing that for us. thank you, bomani jones, who is getting 14 invitations back -- my control room is like, yes, bring him back. the rest of the panel is sticking around for now. coming up next, this week in voter suppression, texas edition again. the surprising tactics in play in the lone star state. and eric holder takes on racial profiling. there's of course more nerdland at the top of the hour. (music)
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welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. voters in wisconsin scored a big win on tuesday when federal judge lynn addelman struck down the state law requiring voters to provide state approved voter identification before they could cast a ballot. check that up as a "w" in the calm um in the series this week in voter suppression. but this week in voter suppression, it is not all good news. for now voters in the badger state will enjoy relatively unfettered access to the polls. but a little farther south a different effort is under way. welcome to texas, or as a new group of democratic volunteers has dubbed it, battleground texas. these volunteers led by former obama for america staffers are fanning out across the lone star state trying to register new voters with hope that say they will turn out in the fall for a democratic gubernatorial candidate wendy davis.
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this effort is not just about 2014. battleground texas is hoping for something much bigger, texas-size big. they hope that by tapping the large unregistered population of latino texans, they might change the state's political landscape, flipping texas from solidly red to battleground purple and eventually to bright, shiny, pt blue. if that seems farfetched just remember that speculation about a blou texas was a headline grabber in 2012. "the new york times," "the washington post" and "forbes" all speculate about how the state's demographics might change its destiny. no shift is imminent because even so latinos are 38% of the texas population and 44% of latinos are eligible to vote, that makes more than a quarter of all of texas' eligible voters latino. but here's the catch. only 39% of those potentially latino voters actually cast ballots in 2012. that's compared to a statewide turnout of more than 58%.
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battleground texas volunteers are working to change those numbers, getting more eligible latino voters registered and getting more of those registered to the powlls. two 2011 texas laws complicated the state's voter registration rules. if you don't live in texas, you can't register voters in texas. the laws require county training for anyone registering voters. and these trained volunteers must then personally deliver all registration applications as opposed to mailing the applications to the state registration offices, which you can do in other states. these laws create obstacles for groups like ballottleground to register voters. so i have a question, is that the point? joining me now, jelani cobb, ari berman, contributing writer at the nation magazine, zack roth who's been in texas reporting on battleground and dale ho, director of the aclu's voting
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rights project. s so, dale, talk to me about a set of laws, sophisticated and elegant rules about registration. i mean is this a kind of new way of suppressing the vote by actually suppressing registration? >> it seems like we're playing a game of whack-a-mole right now. every time we whack down something like a voter i.d. law, some new tactic pops up and that's why the voting rights act was passed in the first place in 1965. so barriers to registration and restrictions on voter registration drives. what texas is doing, other states have tried similar things before. florida, before the 2012 election, they imposed this 48-hour deadline for you to return voter registration forms or you would be fined $50 per form per day late. i was representing the naacp in 2012. they get in trouble for returning two forms four hours late. >> like a recommendation cntal .
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>> why didn't they return them monday? it was mlk day and they didn't get 24 hours of totaling for that. it was really amazing. >> i love that in part because it is a reminder that there are all of these multiple levels of barriers to voting that we set up, right, that you would think in a democracy our goal would be to increase the capacity of people to register. for example, through the motor voter laws or through same-day registration. and when we look, for example, at same-day registration, folks in states with same-day registration have higher turnout than in states like texas that create these registration barriers. so what is the narrative? what is the explanation that is given for these kinds of laws? >> the explanation is always a one size fits all of voter fraud. it's this phrase that's repeated over and over and over again without any evidence to back it up. texas has thrown out this phrase more than any other state and that's why texas has really unloaded the kitchen sink of voter suppression. they have done so many other things. texas is the only state where the justice department blocked both a voter i.d. law and
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restricting map as discriminatory and the federal courts ruled in their favor. they already have two strikes against them. now they're doing the voter registration thing so they're decreasing the representation of black and hispanic voters. making it harder for them to cast votes and making it harder for them to register. so every step of the political process they're discriminating against peep elf colople of col texas. >> and you just game kaim back to texas where you were reporting on voter registration so i want to share some of the videos from volunteers because they are talking about why they are there. >> i grew up in south texas around this area and i grew up around a lot of domestic violence and a lot of poverty where, you know, we couldn't afford food and we couldn't afford shelter. we usually lived in abandoned houses for a long time and by the time i was about 17, i dropped out of high school. i became a single mom at 19. and then i became homeless at
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19. and so that's why i joined battleground texas. i am now 21 and now i go to college and have a 3-year-old, but it's very personal. >> i was wondering if you support wendy davis for governor? >> i saw a lot of mow friends who had the same scenario, absent parents, fail. they didn't get into college or they didn't go to college. they ended up with, you know, drug addictions or things like that, because there just was no resources to get out. to me that's the way it seems. children who were born into poverty stay in poverty. it's very, very hard for us to get out of the system. >> everybody here is here for a reason. and it's not just about numbers and it's not just about our party and expanding our party because we're awesome, but because we hold values and we hold our values here in south texas. >> every time i leave these meetings, i always have to cry
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because i hear so many different personal stories that connect all of us to one another. and you start to realize how much you're hurting your community and how much -- how real this is. it's not only you that it affected, these policies, it's a lot of people. >> so, zack, that's not just a story about, here, would you please sign up to register. that's a pretty intense personal narrative. >> yeah, and the thing is we could have included 20 stories like sierra's if we had had space. these are the people who -- you know, we hear about this texas economic miracle where the texas economy is booming. these are the people who have been left out of that, who have been ignored pie the republicans who run texas. who don't want to expand medicaid, who don't want to make it easy for workers. so many of those people had those stories and it just gave you the sense that there's so much pent-up demand for these kind of organizing efforts, whether in support of the democratic party, whether on issue-based organizing, there's
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really fertile ground in texas for this because so many people kept saying we've never had anything like this before. we didn't even realize that politics could help our situation. and so it's a very promising thing for battleground and their allies. >> i am reminded, jelani, that we are 50 years from freedom summer. obviously texas has made it impossible to do what freedom summer did. but as i listen to her, it felt more like that than your average sort of league of women voters registration drive. that kind of connection with community and a discussion about, as you said, that politics can make a difference in these material circumstances. >> i think it's the biggest cliche in history. those who fail to understand their past are doomed to repeat it. in terms of texas specifically, this is where thurgood marshall cut his teeth, fighting against white primary cases early in his career. >> primary in texas, i'm like, hmm. >> exactly. but what people fail to
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recognize is when we look at things like the voting rights act or the civil rights act, those were not things that were given to black people. those were concessions in the face of really, really powerful social movements. those social movements in and of itself if you were looking and saying it's either we work with these social movements or there's out and out social chaos and bedlam. people have affirmative action now. affirmative action in education is on the chopping block but they don't recognize affirmative action came about during the nixon administration because he was looking at people and saying this person is brilliant. we want them to be in the system as opposed to being outside the system trying to burn it down. when you get rid of these things, when you get rid of these protection, what you do is bring us back to the status quo ante and produce the same outcomes that the status quo ante produced, social chaos, upheaval. what would be the actual yield of keeping this number of people out of the electoral system? certainly i guarantee it's not
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anything that anyone would want. >> as i'm listening to you talk about this sort of bringing the best and the brightest back into the system, thinking about the operations of democracy, listening to that young woman say that it's important to sort of break the cycles of poverty, but then i also heard her say it's not just about our party, but i wonder if it doesn't get received as though it's just about wendy davis' campaign and building the democratic party. is there any weakness when the movement feels partisan rather than sort of issue or ethically based? >> well, that's been the whole problem with the voting rights fight in the last four years is it's been portrayed as a republican versus democratic issue as opposed to a moral issue. when lbj introduced the voting rights act, he said it's deadly wrong to deprive any american of their right to vote, not a democratic voter or republican voter. so we need to get back in terms of talking about voting rights and talking about people participating in the political process as a moral issue. if it is one party that's
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disenfranchising people and one party which is trying to expand the ballot, we have to talk about it in those terms and then remind people it hasn't always been that way. when the civil rights movement went down to mississippi, they weren't fighting for the democratic party, they were fighting for the mississippi freedom democratic party to be able to participate in the political process for everybody. >> i'm wondering, dale, given that there is a history of certainly -- i mean your point nobody wanted the mississippi democratic party to be up to anything. i wonder, dale, do you have any optimism that this congress will produce a new section 5 formula that will in fact cover places like, you know, what we've seen in wisconsin and back to texas again? >> well, the dysfunction of this congress is well known. everyone talks about how this congress can't get anything done. but here's what we know about the voting rights act and recent history in congress. passed 98-0 in senate. it passed 390-33 votes in 2006. many of those members are still in congress.
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and we're confident that if we can get to a floor vote, and these people have to put their names forward as to whether or not they support the voting rights act or not that we can get it passed. the question is can we get the process started because we haven't had a hearing yet. we need to get a hearing on the vra and need to get it soon if there is to be any action where the session is over. >> everybody stay with us. zack, i want to ask you a couple more questions about texas. there's some assumptions that i'm interested in digging into, and we're also going to talk about another ultimate battleground state, ohio. dale will tell us how his organization is trying to roll back the voting restrictions in the buckeye state. in pursuit of all things awesome, amazing, and that's epic, bro,
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just to vote. it is wrong to make a senior citizen who no longer has a driver's license jump through hoops and have to pay money just to exercise the rights she has cherished for a lifetime. america did not stand up and did not march and did not sacrifice to gain the right to vote for themselves and for others only to see it denied to their kids and their grandchildren. we've got to pay attention to this. >> that was president obama making it very plain at the national action network convention in april. his point is what makes part of this week's voting rights win in wisconsin so pivotal. it pushes back on that rampant assertion of voter impersonation. this could have impacted 300,000 registered voters. wisconsin is not alone. on thursday the aclu took on ohio for that state's dramatic new restrictions on early voting. the american civil liberties union filed a suit against ohio petitioning the federal court to
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strike down the law on the grounds that it violates section 2 of the voting rights act. the law in question removes ohio's first week of early voting, a period known as the golden week, that allows ohioans to register and vote on the same day. in the 2012 elections, at least 157,000 voters cast ballots during the golden week. the aclu, which filed the complaint on behalf of the naacp's ohio conference argues that the law disproportionately impacts minority and low income voters who cannot afford to take time off from work necessary to wait in lines. lines that were reported to be the longest in the country for the ballot box on election day. so, dale, tell me about your level of confidence about the kinds of arguments you're making here to this judge. >> we're really confident about this case. ohio -- there's a history here that's really relevant. we're not aing thrguing that ev state has to have x number of days of early voting. we're arguing that there's a history in ohio.
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2004, people waited in lion seven, eight, nine hours to cast a ballot. how did they address that? early voting to take the pressure off of election day. the problem is it worked too well. >> it worked! >> you didn't have those same problems with lines in 2006 and 2008. and in 2008 you had record turnout by african-americans and other people of color and young voters in ohio and all of a sudden repeated efforts to cut back on early voting in the ohio legislature. a bill in 2010 that failed, a bill in 2011 that they did manage to get through and repealed because they were worried about whether or not there would be a referendum on them. then the secretary of state got rid of the last three days of early voting before the 2012 election. blocked by a federal court from doing that and now they're coming back trying to get rid of the last two days and the first week of it. so there's a history here. i think people understand this is just repetitive attempts to push us back toward 2004 and we're very confident about our arguments. >> part of what i find so useful about the two of you sitting here is the reminder jelani gave
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us earlier about the initial movement in the 1960s to move us towards what becomes the voting rights act. part of it was always these legal battles addressing the sets of policies that were restrictive around registration, around the ability to cast the vote, and then the other piece of it being that on the ground social muchovement activity tha built capacity in local communities. i want to come back to texas for a second because i wonder when we look at texas, part of what makes texas very different today than in the 1960 is that that capacity building in local communities is a multi racial one. it is both about latino voters and about african-american voters and about poor white voters who have economic self-interest. how do you see those tensions playing out in that battleground group? >> well, the thing about their organizing strategy is, it's so interesting, it comes directly out of the 2008 obama campaign. these are all former obama campaign leadership. and their philosophy, which is a very sort of well thought out,
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deeply rooted thing that was conceived by a harvard professor named marshall ganz, is voters will react better if they're hearing about the election and being urged to vote not from volunteers that are parachuting in at the last minute but from people embedded in their community. that's why battleground is starting so early. they're there a year in advance training people from the local community to talk to their neighbors and talk to their friends about wendy davis or about the issues they're talking about. that's the way they believe they are really going to build a long-term infrastructure that will stick around beyond november. as you say, it is multi racial, multi gender. there's a huge female component. >> in part because of wendy davis' candidacy? >> in part, but i think also there are a lot of the people who are most targeted by a lot of stuff that the republicans who run texas are doing. and so it's a very sort of well thought out strategy. and it worked for obama. >> all right. you have been a student of this in so many ways.
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as you look at these multiple strategies, this clear need particularly without section 5 preclearance, having to bring it under section 2, the kind of activism that will have to occur from aclu and other voting rights organizations and then the local capacity building, what does that look like to you? sort of read to me the tea leaves from 2014 or 2016. do we end up with a different narrative about voting in america or are we still fighting the whack-a-mole game? >> i think the wisconsin case was a great illustration. to me it was significant, the ruling striking down the voter i.d. law for three reasons. the first is just that the judge so thoroughly debunked the voter fraud argument. republicans can't go back to this well anymore. they're going to keep doing it, but they have been debunked. they have lost, i think, this argument. the second thing is that this was the fifth voter i.d. law struck down by a court. so the legal trend is moving on this issue and it's moving on other issues as well.
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in the 2010 election we saw ten voting restrictions struck down in court. t the third thing is these lawsuits are being brought under a new part of the act. a new part in that it hasn't really been used to challenge these new generation of voter suppression tactics. and so the voting rights act, there's still really important parts that still exist and they exist for a reason. people have to use them and so it's great that dale and the aclu are suing aggressively. a lot of people would like to see the justice department be more aggressive and start suing these local jurisdictions under section 2 of the voting rights act. >> i'll take a little aggression in texas and north carolina from the department of justice. zack, thank you for joining us us today. zack along with jenn brown who is the executive director of battleground texas will be answering your questions about battleground texas, republican voting restrictions and the fight to turn texas blue on right after our show. start leaving your questions
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276. that is how many nigerian girls anlz 15 to 18 are still missing after a predawn raid nearly three weeks ago. the raid occurred at the government girls secondary school in the northern town by the al qaeda-linked group which means western education is sinful. 53 of these girls have escaped on their own, but the focus on their story is new, due to the unrelenting efforts of their relatives and social media to bang the drums and let us know that this story matters. that each one of these girls matters. and that is why my letter this week is to them. dear young women, it's me, melissa, and i cannot begin to comprehend the terror you are feeling. you, who are already surviving in a country facing terror on a
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daily basis, as evidenced by the car bomb explosion in nigeria's capital on thursday that killed at least 12 people, just days before your nation was set to host a major international economic forum. and this attack occurred across the road from the site of a massive explosion less than a month ago that killed at least 75 people. the same day that you young women were kidnapped from your school. but the reality of your country's woes does not excuse us from being absent in demanding more attention be paid to your story, because you matter. nor does it excuse your president, who took two weeks to make a public rvow to bring you back, after you were taken at gunpoint and your school burned down. now, there are reports that you are being sold off for $12 a person to your captors, being taken across the border and trafficked into slavery. $12?
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your lives cannot be equated to a dollar amount because your potential is limitless, and now the drum beat from those in your country and around the world are banging loudly so that you will not be forgotten. from the dozens of protesters that gathered outside nigeria's parliament on wednesday to call on security forces to search for you, to the growing online campaign #bringbackourgirls, which is forcing the media and the world to pay attention and conveying to you that you are not just nigeria's daughters, you are tdaughters of the world as evidenced by the group that rallied outside the u.n. to protest your abductions. visibly frustrated by the lack of progress. you matter to the u.s. state department, which this week engaged in discussions with the nigerian government on what we can do to assist efforts to find each and every one of you, and you most certainly matter to your distraught parents. many dressed in red holding a day of protests on thursday and
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marching from the residence of the local chief to the scene of your kidnapping. many carrying signs that simply said "find our daughters." you have not been forgotten. we are sorry it took us so long to pay attention. but we're watching now. we're pounding the drums, because each one of you matter. sincerely, melissa.
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every weekend we try to pack a lot of information into four hours of television. that's a lot of stories and a lot of passion. it doesn't stop when the show is over so occasionally we want to update you on what happens after our discussions. now, you may remember last august i sent a letter to montana district judge g. todd bow after he sentenced a convicted rapist and former high
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school teacher to just one month in jail for raping a 14-year-old student who later took her own life. now during the sentencing the judge said that the young girl was, quote, probably as much in control of the situation as the defendant. the sentence and the judge's comments sparked outrage and protests and the judge later apologized. >> i made some references to the victim's age and control. i'm not sure just what i was attempting to say at that point, but it didn't come out correct. i owe all our fellow citizens an apology. >> well, now there's been a ruling by the montana supreme court that could reverse baugh's decision. the court ruled wednesday that the original sentence was too short. the unanimous decision also ordered the case be assigned to a new judge for resentencing. one of the reasons cited by the court was the inflammatory language by baugh who still faces a complaint from the
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montana judicial standards commission. another letter recipient also made news this week. a few weeks ago i sent a letter to tennessee governor bill h haslem urging him not to criminalize mothers who use drugs during their pregnancy that may cause harm to their babies. apparently that letter may have been returned marked return to sender because the governor signed that bill into law on tuesday. the legislation allows mothers to avoid charged if they enter treat but local doctors worry that threat of criminalization will scare women away from treatment. we've also been covering another southern state, georgia, where pretty soon it's going to be easier to bring a gun almost anywhere in the state but it's going to be harder to get help if you're poor. the governor signed a bill that requires drug testing for some welfare applicants and makes them foot the bill as well. the testing will be required if
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applicants raise reasonable suspicion of drug use based on, among other things, their police record, reason for job loss and their demeanor, whatever that means. according to the "atlantic journal constitution" at least 12 other states have passed similar legislation, but only georgia would require applicants to pay for their own drug tests, even if they pass. and last week, we told you that mississippi could soon lose its only abortion clinic. the jackson women's health organization. a federal court of appeals heard arguments monday over a state law that requires abortion provides to have local hospital admitting privileges and so far the clinic has not been able to secure them. we talked to one of the two doctors who perform abortions at the clinic, dr. willie parker, who travels to mississippi from chicago and he explained what would happen if the clinic closes. >> we will be left with desperate measures and those will increase the suffering and potential death of women that we
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know occurs when abortion is not legally available. >> in court so far, lawyers for the state have argued that mississippi is surrounded by other metropolitan areas where abortion clinics are available. but one judge pointed out that in those neighboring states, lawmakers are either considering or have passed similar laws. we will continue to stay on top of this story and all the others. when we come back, an update on attorney general eric holder and his ongoing, increasingly vocal quest for justice. this time the a.g. is taking on racial profiling. and that's next. ♪
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[ girl ] my mom, she makes underwater fans that are powered by the moon. ♪ she can print amazing things, right from her computer.
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[ whirring ] [ train whistle blows ] she makes trains that are friends with trees. ♪ my mom works at ge. ♪ u.s. attorney general eric holder continues to make news when it comes to criminal justice and civil rights. on monday he spoke about a pressing problem facing young african-american and latino men. >> a recent study reported that half of african-american men have been arrested at least once by age 23. overall, black men were six times and latino men were 2.5 times more likely to be in
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prison than white men in 2012. this overrepresentation of young men of color in our criminal justice system is a problem that we must confront. >> he didn't just acknowledge the problem, he went further than that and announced the initiative that could in fact spark a change in the way law enforcement interacts with communities of color. >> this month of the justice department is launching a new initiative, the national center for building community trust and justice, to analyze and to reduce the effect of racial bias within the criminal justice system. this effort will encompass a broad range of areas in which fairness and trust can come into question, from stops and searches to wrongful convictions. >> this is an important step in the right direction, but it is not an easy goal to achieve, as evidenced by the report, the essence of innocence, consequences of dehumanizing black children, which reported on back in march. so this report shows implicit bias or the attitudes and
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stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner can lead us to make judgments about other people based on their race, ethnicity, age, appearance. the report found african-american boys are routinely seen as less innocent than their white counterparts. african-american boys and men are routinely estimated to be older than their actual age. one of the most chilling findings is how much more force police used against african-american children who are under the age of 18. at the table jelani cobb, ari berman, brittney cooper, and dale ho. joining us from los angeles is philip, president of the center for policing equity and professor of social psychology at ucla and the co-author of "seeing black report" that discussed his work with the officials at the department of justice. it's so nice to have you, professor. >> thanks for having me. >> i want to make this clear in
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relation to the conversation that we were having before about mr. sterling, your research does not show police officers are racist, right? it's something more complicated than that. help folks to understand what your research does tell us. >> well, basically what psychologists are interested in doing generally is showing basic psychological universals. so the research that we've been doing show it's not police that are particularly or peculiarly racially biased, it's everybody. rather than thinking about prejudice as the problem, we start thinking about situations as the solution. both within colleges and communities and within law enforcement as well. >> so part of -- so let's -- let me get you to draw this out a little bit more. so explain for folks the difference between kind of an implicit racial bias versus an explicit anti-racial attitude. >> an explicit bias is the kind of bias that we think with when we think about a racist person. explicit bias is i don't like that group of people, i don't
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want my son or daughter hanging out with that group of people, i don't want to give that person a job. that's increasingly rare, though occasionally we do see it in the mouths of nba owners. implicit bias is just the association we automatically have. so if you're watching the local news and it's about seven minutes in and there's the face of a young black man on there, you might imagine you're watching evidence of a criminal act. >> right. >> that's because that's when they do that during the news. you're not a racist person because you think, oh, there must be a crime going on, i've got the sound down but there's a black man on television on the news, it's because you're paying attention. that's the way it usually happens on the news at that time. it turns out when you have that association, then under intense time pressure, that can influence actual behavior. and so when we go from implicit attitudes to actual behavior, that's when we have a problem. it's a psychological universal, it's not particular to any group, but there are some groups
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that have more power. those are the groups we have to be particularly concerned about, helping them to resist the influence of our basic human psychology. >> okay. and i want to get one more with you before i come out to this group and that is so you talked about them making situations a solution and you gave us a little idea of it there. it really is these implicit biases that we all share can either get activated and become more salient when we have very little time, right, so if i have to decide whether or not to draw my gun as a police officer or if i'm an emergency room physician and i have to decide, you know, how much to administer of pain medication, right, it has to do with how quickly i have to make a decision, is that right? >> sometimes it has to do with how quickly the decision and sometimes it has to do with how you're actually feeling about you. i think one of the most important things to get back to attorney general holder's announcement and that initiative is that there's so much about police behavior, we just don't know because there's no national data about it.
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we don't know the national level of stops. we don't know the national level of use of force. that's why we're so excited that the federal government along with the my brothers keepers initiative with multiple foundations is moving forward to try and at least measure what police are doing so we can better manage it, which is why the -- the reason why i'm particularly excited about this, he's talking about data collection and so putting together a national justice database is what policing equity has been trying to do the last couple of years now seems like it's got the national spotlight and got support of chiefs, it's got the support of researchers and it's got the support of civil liberties groups. that can allow us to get at that a little better. >> i love the level of enthusiasm and the smile you have when you say data collection. it has been a very nerdy day. hold on, don't leave us. we're going to take a quick break but come back and open it up to the panel. you've given us the social psychology. i want to talk about the politics and the law when we come back. before those little pieces would get in between my dentures and my gum and it was uncomfortable.
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take a listen to the former police chief from east palo alto, california, who's now in d.c. saying something here about how we should think about race and policing. >> simply put, mr. chairman, race is a descriptor not a predictor. to use race when describing someone who just committed a crime is appropriate. however, when we deem a person to be suspicious or attach criminality to a person because of the neighborhood they are walking in or the clothing they are wear we are attempting to predict criminality. we are seldom right in our results and wrong in our approach. >> i really like the professor's research and the idea of implicit attitudes, but i also worry that it then creates a kind of legal messiness where, you know, you just have been doing the stop and frisk work and, well, it's just their implicit attitudes, they can't really be held accountable. >> this is something really interesting i've been talking
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about with colleagues and law professors about. there's this line of cases that say that the only kinds of discrimination that are unlawful or unconstitutional are this express intentional discrimination. i hate you because of your race. but from my perspective, what the constitution prohibits is being treated differently because of your race, right? so it doesn't matter as a victim of discrimination whether you do it intentionally or if you do it because of implicit bias. either way i've been discriminated against. it should be just as unconstitutional from my perspective. >> so it's a question of looking at the role of the victim of the discrimination rather than the intentions of the person who's making these choices. i do wonder, you know, there is jelani this excitement with collecting the data. why in fact we haven't been collecting data. >> if you don't have the data you can't prove what people are doing or aren't doing. i do want to push back about the implicit bias part of this. i think that's likely very much
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the case. we understand this. also economic factors here. also kind of people who are being policed in particular ways because it protects the interests of people who are moneyed, people who do not live in the communities they live in and, you know, i'm hesitant to get to the place where people are going, oh, we're all kind of -- this is something we all do democratically and we all have our issues. i took an implicit bias test and it said i was moderately skewed toward african-americans. i think this is very different than saying structures producing these outcomes intentionally. >> professor, let me come back to you and ask that question. how should we reconcile this social psychology. this notion of all of us sharing an implicit bias with this question of intentional, structural aspects of policing that impact black and brown communities? >> i have to say a really appreciate jelani's comments just now because there's a temptation. it's really seductive to reduce
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everything to implicit bias. since we can't control that, eh. but in reality we can do things to prevent the translation of our implicit biasses into behavior and we can also look at the ways in which the structures are -- i wrote a piece for cnn about big data can produce knowledge about what part of the disparity that say we're seeing as a result of law enforcement behavior and what part of it is as a result of the schools, the housing, right, the health care situation. each of those has a role to play. if we're not collecting the data on the disparities we can't get to the part what is implicit, explicit, policy and personal. >> i want to come to you on the
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politics as well. the communities that have been victimized in this way by stop and frisk and other ways of overpolicing are now in a place where they're often in very troubling relationships with police officers and with the police in general and ways that actually can then have negative consequences for crime prevention in their own communities. so you have this kind of racial implicit bias but you have very clear decision-making on the part of overpoliced communities not to snitch and not to engage with the systems which have proved themselves untrustworthy. any chance doj can also start in this data collection, in this research process moving us towards a more reasonable relationship there? >> sure. i think we have to zoom out and recognize this is not just a problem of racial profiling but we are long overdue for a conversation about policing in general, about the ways in which people interact with police. i know that i've had very contentious interactions with police officers and sometimes we don't think that women of color actually also have these harassing and uncomfortable kinds of situations.
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one of the things that concerns me about the way that this is being framed is that they're continuing to situate this as primarily a problem of men of color. but women of color are the fastest-growing incarcerated group in the country, which means we're having more interactions with law enforcement, which means we're not necessarily protected because of gender and unless that becomes a -- so is that going to be part of this data collection? and how are the different -- so i don't want to minimize what happens to member n of color bu women of color matter in this situation too. >> this also matters across what we're talking about here so for african-american women there may be asumgsumptions for criminali. for latinas there's the assumption of illegality or not being documented. we know that the impact on communities because women tend to be primary care providers for children and elders, when women are incarcerated you have these multiple effects.
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professor, is gender a relevant aspect of what you're up to in this research? >> absolutely and it has to be. really this comes back down to communities. when we talk about overpolicing or talk about discomfort with law enforcement, we're talking about communities, we're talking about families. 80% of incarcerated women are also mothers. so really when we're talking about women in law enforcement, we really need to talk about families and law enforcement. the same thing talking about men. we have the trope of black mena. we have law enforcement that sometimes wants to do the right thing but doesn't know how. it's a good news race story during a week when there weren't very many of them. >> if you would like to write for something for, mhp show would be happy to publish that. we'd love to have you think about this notion of data as a
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tool for social justice. that fits right in here at nerdland. thank you to jelani cobb who has an implicit bias for african-americans, to ari berman, brittney cooper and dale ho. i'm going to see you again and we are going to bring you an incredible update on a young woman we featured weeks back. cynthia diaz was on a hunger strike in front of the white house in an attempt to get her mother, who was detained as an undocumented immigrant, out of holding. her update is tomorrow. but right now it's time for a preview of weekends with alex w witt with our guest host, t.j. what's going on? >> i don't get that kind of greeting very often. we go from nerdland to average iq land in just a flash. good to see you, it's been a while. stick around, we're going to be
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speechless. new developments involving former secretary of state condoleezza rice, per debated appearance at rutgers university and the graduation speech that will no longer be heard. also congressman james clyburn will join me and discuss the dust-up over clarence thomas, also paul ryan's meeting with the congressional black caucus and a bizarre t2:00 a.m. phone call mr. clyburn once got from a u.s. president. and the woman at the center of the donald sterling/l.a. clippers controversy. she made a fashion statement but also made a statement, telling her side of the story. don't go anywhere, we'll explain that visor and a lot more. [ amy ] when you're tossing and turning and can't sleep an ounce,
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